When does a 52:00 minute 10k beat a 49:00 minute 10k?
When you run them a week apart.
Two weeks ago I ran the 39th annual Oak Apple Run 10k in Royal Oak, MI. I’ve probably run 35 of those 39 races. This year they moved the start time from 8:00AM to 9:00AM and it was a warm, sunny day. I ran a 48:50 which was not a personal best but one of my better times for the last few years. And I was fourth in my age group. Of course, they give medals to the first three places.
Then a week later I ran the Detroit Riverfront Run 10k. They also had a 9:00AM start but that day was even hotter at 80 degrees and full sun at the start. The combination of heat and tired legs from the last race was a challenge. I forced myself to keep pushing but I ran a 52:40. One of my worst times I recent years. So imagine my surprise when I checked the posted race results and saw I placed first in my age group. Apparently the heat affected the other “old” guys more than me. I collected my medal although it felt somewhat unearned based on my own pace standards.